Romney aide: Obama "dragged his feet" on Syria
(CBS News) As violence in Syria continues, the Romney campaign is blasting President Obama for allegedly having "dragged his feet" in responding to the ongoing crisis there, pledging that a Romney administration would do more to assist the Syrian opposition movement take down president Bashar Assad.
"It's been over a year since the president said Bashar Assad must go," said Romney foreign policy adviser Dan Senor in a Friday appearance on "CBS This Morning." "Bashar Assad is still in power. America looks impotent in the region."
Senor argued that U.S. national security interests are tied closely to Assad's demise, as "Assad is Tehran's closest ally." "Assad falling would be a strategic blow to Iran," he said.
"President Romney would do more to help the opposition movement on the ground in Syria working with our allies - like the Turks, like the Saudis, like the Qataris - to get the opposition more training, more resources, more weapons. Really coordinate the effort. And [a Romney administration] would not have dragged his feet as long as they have," Senor said.
He also accused the president of having "wasted time" on a "failed strategy" in Iran,
"The biggest crisis facing the U.S. from a national security standpoint is Iran developing a nuclear weapons capability," said Senor. "And tragically the Obama administration really wasted the first couple of years of its administration on a failed strategy to isolate Iran.
Pressed by CBS' Charlie Rose on what specifically Romney would do about Iran if elected - other than "not have wasted the time" - Senor said the Republican presidential candidate would ramp up economic sanctions against the country and "make the threat of military action credible."
"We do not advocate military action against Iran. It should be the option of last resort. However, what the administration has done is broadcast to Tehran - to the mullahs in Tehran - that the military option is the absolute one thing that America doesn't want anybody to do," Senor said. "And so the threat of military action is not credible."
"We need to ramp up the pressure, increase diplomatic isolation and make the threat of military action credible," he said.
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